Several times throughout the year I receive a publication naming and detailing locations considered appealing to those wishing to relocate following retirement. It's a secular periodical claiming to have a diverse audience, aside from the fact that a majority of the readers are identified as people aged fifty-five years and above. Cities and villages within the sunshine state of Florida and other year-round warm weather locations are frequently among the lists of preferred retirement destinations. Factors such as temperate climates, cultural offerings, beaches and golf courses, other entertainment amenities, and lifestyles of ease and enjoyment are regularly promoted as major draws for the identified locations.
The magazine's authors often elicit feedback from those who have recently moved to a highlighted community asking them to explain their motivations for settling there. A leading response has been the longing to move to a "heaven on earth" place. That is, a community alleged as nearing perfection. Sort of a golden ager's "Garden of Eden" as some suggested.
Admittedly, I have found many of the locations rather enticing. My reading of their compelling features often causes me to drift off with idyllic thoughts of walking along tranquil sandy beaches, observing ocean vistas and marine wildlife, enjoying deep sea fishing, networking with an abundance of new friends, and taking pleasure in a life of ease with no snow to shovel. As they said, "heaven on earth."
In reflecting on the "heaven on earth" response, I wondered how many people replying as such also looked forward to an everlasting life in heaven as described in God's Word, the Holy Bible? Sadly, I imagined that for some the description was simply applied as a time-worn catch phrase used to convey the essence of the community character they desired following retirement with no real belief in the Biblical concept of heaven. Did these folks even consider that each has another move yet to be played out, I asked myself? If so, wouldn't they want to ultimately dwell in God's perfect kingdom?
God's Word assures us that heaven is a very real place. It is a homeland of true perfection designed by God for those who have accepted His Son, Jesus Christ. The Bible describes heaven as a setting of overwhelming beauty, constant peace, and infinite happiness filled with people who have one thing in common. That is, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who took away the sin of the world through His death and resurrection. It is a place where tears of hurt are no longer shed and the concept of pain fully erased. The Bible promises all believers of a guaranteed residence within His heavenly home. John 14: 1-3 (NIV) tells us: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."
Through the grace of God and personal acceptance of His Son, Jesus Christ, everyone has the opportunity to gain entry into the heaven of true perfection designed and created by Him. Whether a person's final move originates from one of the garden spots listed in the above magazine, the Cadillac area, or other location it is certain to eventually come about. Have you asked God to prepare a place for you?